Bob Avila relocates to Southern California

After 27 years at his landmark stable in Yamhill, Ore., world champion trainer Bob Avila is relocating to Southern California. His operation, with its current focus on futurity and performance horses, will be based at Alan and Kay Needle's Tucalota Creek Ranch in Temecula. The transition is effective June 1.After 27 years at his landmark stable in Yamhill, Ore., world champion trainer Bob Avila is relocating to Southern California. His operation, with its current focus on futurity and performance horses, will be based at Alan and Kay Needle's Tucalota Creek Ranch in Temecula. The transition is effective June 1.

Story originally posted by Horsecity.com Staff

After 27 years at his landmark stable in Yamhill, Ore., world champion trainer Bob Avila is relocating to Southern California. His operation, with its current focus on futurity and performance horses, will be based at Alan and Kay Needle’s Tucalota Creek Ranch in Temecula. The transition is effective June 1.

The move is a result of Avila’s decision to form a partnership with the Needles, for whom he’s trained such horses as Gunnalena, co-reserve champion of the 2001 National Reined Cow Horse Association Futurity.

"As part of our agreement, I’ll be taking over the management and training of all their horses," Avila explained. "I’ll also continue to run Avila Stables as before, and to accept outside horses for training. My riding staff will be making the move with me."

That staff includes head assistant Bill Norwood of Australia, and Varr Heaton of Montana. Avila’s 18-year-old son, BJ, also plans to train for Avila Stables after spending the summer working for J.D. Yates, a Colorado-based trainer and exhibitor of rope horses.

BJ, who graduated from Yamhill High School this spring, will be the third generation of Avilas to work with horses professionally. His grandfather, Don Avila, has bred, trained and shown Quarter Horses most of his life. Don and former wife Pat raised Bob, their only child, while competing heavily on the West Coast show circuit of the 1950s and ’60s.

Since then, Bob Avila has achieved a brand-name level of success in the horse industry. He’s trained and shown over 30 AQHA world champions and reserve champions (including the 1986 Superhorse), in events ranging from cutting, reining and working cow horse to halter and western riding. He’s captured the World’s Greatest Horseman title and been named AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year.

The native Californian has won the National Reined Cow Horse Association Futurity twice, and is one of only two competitors to have won both that event and the National Reining Horse Association Futurity. The other is his former apprentice Todd Bergen, a trainer now based in Eagle Point, Ore.

Avila, who served his own apprenticeship under the late Tony Amaral, has garnered a reputation as "the trainer’s trainer" for his ability to turn out top hands as well as top horses. Bergen is just one of his former proteges who’ve gone on to stellar independent careers.

Avila’s other endeavors include stallion promotions, product endorsements, and clinics and seminars. He serves as editor in chief of Ride With Bob Avila, an award-winning monthly horsemanship magazine published by Winsor Publishing. Win With Bob Avila, his hardcover book published by Western Horseman, was named Equine Book of the Year for 2000.

Of his move to California, Avila said he is taking advantage of what he described as "the world-class facilities" at Tucalota Creek Ranch.

"Alan and Kay Needle have designed and built one of the finest horse-training facilities I’ve ever seen," he said. "Their indoor arena alone has to be the best private arena, if not the best arena, period, in the state of California. Alan and Kay are totally committed to their goal of producing ‘the best of the best’ performance horses, and with their work ethic and dedication to success, they’re going to get it done.

"The move will be a big change for me after so many years in the same place," Avila continued. "My decision to enter this partnership didn’t happen overnight-it’s not like I’ve made it a practice to move my operation every other year. Ultimately, though, the opportunity to join forces with the Needles was just too good to pass up."

The trainer has purchased a home in the Temecula area. His Yamhill ranch has been sold, and will be the new home of Kurt Pylman Quarter Horses.